Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) has decided to run for re-election in Iowa House District 67 which includes Robins, Hiawatha, and part of Marion in Linn County. Paulsen has served in the Iowa House since 2002, and became Speaker of the Iowa House when the House Republicans retook the majority in that chamber.
Paulsen was considering a run for the Iowa 1st Congressional District open seat being vacated because of Congressman Bruce Braley’s decision to run for U.S. Senate in 2014. In an email to other members of the Iowa House Republican caucus Paulsen said that even though there was overwhelming encouragement for him to run he didn’t feel called to do so.
“When I started this, I said I had to fee a challenge or a calling. The challenge I feel continues to be in the Iowa House,” Paulsen said. He said the caucus’ work to make Iowa the “best place possible to work, play and raise a family” was his primary decision to run for re-election.
He also said he believes that he will be represented by a Republican Congressman after the 2014 elections.
Paulsen’s decision keeps the Republican field to two – Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje and Dubuque businessman Rod Blum. Blum was edged out by Ben Lange in the 2012 Republican Primary. Rathje ran for Congress in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District in 2010 and was beat in the primary by Mariannette Miller-Meeks. Rathje also ran for U.S. Senate in 2008 and was beat by Chris Reed in the Republican primary.
The Democrat field is more crowed with five running to be nominated by their party: Former State Senator and Iowa Utilities Board Member Swati Dandekar (D-Marion), Attorney Dave O’Brien from Cedar Rapids, State Representative Anesa Kajtazovic (D-Waterloo), State Representative Pat Murphy (D-Dubuque), and Cedar Rapids City Councilwoman Monica Vernon.